Epitaph For A Poet

Say that in love I was blessed beyond measure
Cared for by many and cherished by one
Say in my life I was often despaired of
Say in my work I had barely begun

For what charm I had was the charm of a man
        with a gift for the speech of his time
And my only skill to assemble it simply 
        and clinch it with rhyme
And the charm and the gift and the skill
All went over the hill
As mortal things will
In the fulness of time

Tell them that I by the time I was finished
Darkened the doorway of every good friend
But what talent I had I took some kind of care of
Until it ran out I was true to the end

For my pen was for hire if the terms of the job
        didn't injure my sense of the real
But across the mahogany desks with the phones
        I could tell them No deal
When they offered me money to lie
I promised them I
Wasn't ready to lie
For the price of a meal

I lost count of the times I sat down at midnight
To write the last line of a sonnet by dawn
But add them all up and I probably paid off
Whatever was owing for having been born

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